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Coronavirus on track to be second leading cause of death in LA

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coronavirus on track to be second leading cause of death in la

If the crisis continues at its current clip, coronavirus is on track to become the second leading cause of death in Los Angeles County for 2020, public health officials said Wednesday. 

So far, 4,213 Angelinos have died of the infection in only about six months. 

That makes it likely second only to heart disease for the leading cause of death in the county where about 6,000 people died of cardiac problems in the first six months of 2019, according to County Public Health Director Dr Barbara Ferrer. 

The seven-day average for daily coronavirus fatalities in LA county has turned downward since the first week of July, but Ferrer urged residents to stay vigilant and not interpret that pattern with too much optimism.  

Coronavirus is on track to be the second leading cause of death in Los Angeles, following only heart disease, as it has already killed more than 4,000 people in the county - more than stroke or COPD killed in an entire year in 2017

Coronavirus is on track to be the second leading cause of death in Los Angeles, following only heart disease, as it has already killed more than 4,000 people in the county - more than stroke or COPD killed in an entire year in 2017

Coronavirus is on track to be the second leading cause of death in Los Angeles, following only heart disease, as it has already killed more than 4,000 people in the county – more than stroke or COPD killed in an entire year in 2017 

She warned that claims that the declining death tolls mean coronavirus is ‘nothing to worry about’ are ‘simply not true,’ ABC7 reported. 

Meanwhile, California as a whole has now surpassed New York for the greatest number of coronavirus cases, despite seeming to have gotten its outbreak under control earlier this year. 

By the end of June, coronavirus had killed more than 3,400 people in Los Angeles County since January. 

That puts it well ahead of other causes of death in the county, excepting heart disease. 

The county health department’s most recent complete mortality data is for 2017. 

If coronavirus had struck the US that year, it would, by June, have killed more people than the next two leading causes of death – stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – combined. 

Coronavirus has often been compared to the flu – particularly by President Trump, who earlier this year insisted that coronavirus was no worse and less deadly than the flu (he’s since changed his tune) – but Los Angeles death data undermines that association. 

Cases are surging once more in California and, although the number of daily deaths has declined in recent weeks, LA county health officials warned COVID-19 fatalities could still rise

Cases are surging once more in California and, although the number of daily deaths has declined in recent weeks, LA county health officials warned COVID-19 fatalities could still rise

Cases are surging once more in California and, although the number of daily deaths has declined in recent weeks, LA county health officials warned COVID-19 fatalities could still rise

Flu is ‘a dangerous virus in its own right,’ said Dr Ferrer. 

‘It’s also nowhere near as deadly as COVID-19 has been to date.’ 

In 2017, pneumonia and flu-like illnesses killed 2,171 people in the Los Angeles area, according to county data. 

Already, in the first half of 2020, coronavirus has killed more than twice that many people there. 

‘I’d like to emphasize that unlike (the) flu, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time,’ Dr Ferrer added. 

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed aims to have a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by December – but many expert believe scientists will be hard-pressed to have a shot ready to distribute five months from now. 

Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said on Thursday that his agency is gearing up for a ‘flurry’ of rigorous, expedited studies to find a treatment for coronavirus. 

California has now surpassed New York for the greatest number of coronavirus cases in the US

California has now surpassed New York for the greatest number of coronavirus cases in the US

California has now surpassed New York for the greatest number of coronavirus cases in the US

But, for now, only the antiviral remdesivir and the steroid dexamethasone have shown reliable evidence of reducing the duration of illness and likelihood of death form coronavirus, and each drug is far from curative. 

With no cure, no vaccine, few treatments and hopes that warm weather would bat back the virus dashed, the COVID-19 death toll will only continue to mount. 

If that’s the case, coronavirus will climb the ranks of leading causes of death nationwide just as it has in Los Angeles County. 

As of Thursday afternoon, coronavirus has sickened nearly four million Americans and killed nearly 144,000. 

That’s more people than died of Alzheimer’s in 2017 (the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have complete data), and rivals that year’s death tolls from stroke or chronic respiratory disease. 

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Bill Gates predicts the US will have a COVID-19 vaccine by early 2021

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bill gates predicts the us will have a covid 19 vaccine by early 2021

Bill Gates says he believes there will be a coronavirus vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by early 2021.

In an interview with Fortune, the Microsoft co-founder says there is a new level of collaboration among drugmakers that could see an immunization receive an emergency use authorization license in the next few months.

‘The likelihood is that at least two, three, or four [vaccines] will probably prove to be both safe and efficacious,’ he said.

However, anti-vaxx groups fear an inoculation will lead to mandatory jabs while other Americans are skeptical that the FDA is under political pressure to authorize a vaccine before the November 3 presidential election.

Gates says it will depend on how many people receive the shot, and continue to wear masks in the meantime, to determine how quickly the pandemic, which has killed almost 200,000 Americans, is finally over. 

Because of the level of collaboration between drugmakers, Bill Gates says between two and four vaccine candidates might prove to be safe and effective, and approved by the FDA. Pictured:

Because of the level of collaboration between drugmakers, Bill Gates says between two and four vaccine candidates might prove to be safe and effective, and approved by the FDA. Pictured:

Because of the level of collaboration between drugmakers, Bill Gates says between two and four vaccine candidates might prove to be safe and effective, and approved by the FDA. Pictured: 

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33444254 8756421 image a 19 1600704971593

There are more than 170 coronavirus vaccine candidates in various stages of development around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

At least nine are currently in large-scale trials in humans to prove the jabs are both safe and effective. 

Gates says there are currently six that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation see as likely to report positive results in Phase III trials and apply for authorization by the FDA.

But the next hurdle will be scaling up production so that hundreds of millions of doses are ready for distribution.

‘We’ll be faced with the challenge of scaling up manufacturing to a completely unheard-of level,’ Gates said.

‘The form of cooperation that’s never been done before is having a company that did not invent the vaccine provide its factories so that they can scale up that manufacture. 

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33444240 8756421 image a 16 1600704932000

‘Serum Institute of India, for example, has deals with AstraZeneca and Novavax. So we’re facilitating those pairings because the Indian manufacturers are much higher volume. They’ve got 5,000-liter tanks and huge built-in extra capacity.’

Once an inoculation – or multiple-  are approved, another challenge will be convincing millions to receive them.

Gates pointed to the crisis in Nigeria in 2003, in which a conspiracy theory spread that the polio vaccine was part of a secret plan to sterilize women.

He said many religious leaders worked to debunk the theory and ease people’s fears by giving the vaccine to their own children, which helped increase immunization rates.   

‘The issue is just basic trust – how do people think about vaccines?’ he said,

‘Today, people’s attitudes towards masks and the vaccine, will, in a concrete way, help determine how quickly we bring this pandemic to an end.’

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33444238 8756421 image a 12 1600704260862

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33444246 8756421 image a 13 1600704269994

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33444234 8756421 image a 14 1600704278395

Gates said there is still much work to be done to eliminate global poverty. In the Foundation’s recent Goalkeepers Report, it found the pandemic caused routine vaccine rates to fall by 14 percentage points over the last year.

Additionally, nearly 37 million more people are in extreme poverty, a figure that had been decreasing annually over the last 20 years 

‘So the call here is to say: “Hey, we’ve got to bring this pandemic to an end,”‘ Gates said.

‘And then we have to work to catch up and get back to where we were at the start of 2020 on things like vaccination and education, so that we can resume that positive trajectory.’

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CDC says its guidance that coronavirus spreads through the air was posted ‘IN ERROR’

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cdc says its guidance that coronavirus spreads through the air was posted in error

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it mistakenly published guidance suggesting that the novel coronavirus spreads through the air. 

”A draft version of proposed changes to these recommendations was posted in error to the agency’s official website,’ the agency in a statement, according to CNBC

‘CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Once this process has been completed, the update language will be posted.’ 

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it contacted the CDC earlier on Monday about the update.

It comes days after the CDC changed its controversial recommendations that people exposed to COVID-19 who are asymptomatic forego testing.

The CDC has acknowledged 'growing evidence' that coronavirus is airborne, meaning the virus can linger in the air and infect people further than six feet from a sufferer (file image)

The CDC has acknowledged 'growing evidence' that coronavirus is airborne, meaning the virus can linger in the air and infect people further than six feet from a sufferer (file image)

The CDC has acknowledged ‘growing evidence’ that coronavirus is airborne, meaning the virus can linger in the air and infect people further than six feet from a sufferer (file image)

Airborne viruses ‘are among the most contagious and easily spread’, the CDC had warned, while advising people to use air purifiers to clean the air in indoor spaces, in addition to wearing masks, washing hands, and isolating if you are sick.

The agency said the virus spreads ‘through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes’. 

Previously, the CDC advice said that coronavirus is spread ‘through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.’ 

‘There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others,’ the guidance says.

‘[These particles] travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). 

‘In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.’

The move comes after the World Health Organization changed its own guidelines in July to acknowledge that it ‘is possible’ to become infected by airborne transmission.

However, both the CDC and WHO still say that close and prolonged contact with an infected person is the most common way that the disease spreads.  

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the virus can survive in the air on much smaller droplets that are expelled even when a person breathes.

Because the droplets are so small they do not fall to the floor right away, and instead linger in the air where they can be breathed in by others.

The fact that the droplets linger also means they can drift further than six feet away from an infected person, potentially passing the disease along to someone who was never in close contact with them.

Evidence that the virus is airborne will alarm world leaders who had based their prevention strategies on the assumption that the virus could not spread across large distances (pictured, reporters socially distance at a Joe Biden rally)

Evidence that the virus is airborne will alarm world leaders who had based their prevention strategies on the assumption that the virus could not spread across large distances (pictured, reporters socially distance at a Joe Biden rally)

Evidence that the virus is airborne will alarm world leaders who had based their prevention strategies on the assumption that the virus could not spread across large distances (pictured, reporters socially distance at a Joe Biden rally)

Measles and tuberculosis can be spread via aerosols, and are considered highly infectious.

Wearing masks helps to prevent against airborne diseases – with world governments now increasingly adopting such measures as the science changes. 

The WHO changed its guidance after 239 scientists in 32 countries wrote to the UN agency asking it to acknowledge the growing evidence the virus is airborne. 

One professor who signed the paper said there will be concern to label the virus airborne because it may cause panic.

Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, acknowledged at the time that evidence of airborne transmission was emerging -but that it still needed to be carefully studied.

‘The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings – especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out,’ she said.

‘However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this.’

The CDC updated its advice to recommend the use of air purifiers in indoor spaces to filter out virus particles, having already advised people to use face masks (pictured, CDC Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield)

The CDC updated its advice to recommend the use of air purifiers in indoor spaces to filter out virus particles, having already advised people to use face masks (pictured, CDC Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield)

The CDC updated its advice to recommend the use of air purifiers in indoor spaces to filter out virus particles, having already advised people to use face masks (pictured, CDC Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield)

The novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, was first detected in Wuhan, China, at the end of last year when it caused a cluster of infections centered around a seafood market.

Since then it has spread rapidly to almost every country on earth, infecting more than 31million people, according to a WHO tally.

The US is the world’s worst-hit country with 6.8million infections, though India – with 5.4million – has the world’s fastest-growing outbreak and is due to overtake it in the coming weeks.

Almost 1million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to official counts, though this is widely believed to be an under-estimate.  

Ongoing problems with testing even in developed countries means that, often, only patients with severe infections are able to have a diagnosis confirmed.

This is significant because many patients are thought to exhibit only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. 

This is thought to be a majority of cases, though evidence around asymptomatic infections remains unclear.

The US has also suffered almost 200,000 deaths from the virus which is by far the highest global total. The next-highest is Brazil, which has recorded 136,000. 

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The number of Americans hospitalized for alcoholism has risen 3.5% since 1998, study finds

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the number of americans hospitalized for alcoholism has risen 3 5 since 1998 study finds

The number of Americans hospitalized for alcoholism has risen over the last two decades, a new study suggests.

Researchers found a 3.5 percent drop from around 274,000 hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder in 1998 to about 284,000 hospitalizations in 2016.

However, there has been a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality rates from the disorder over the past 20 years, by about one-third.

The team, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, attributes the decreases in death to a better understanding of – and how to treat- the brain disorder that affects millions in the US.

A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder increased by 3.5% from more than 274,000 in 1998 to more than 284,000 in 2016 but mortality rates fell from .07% to .05% (above)

A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder increased by 3.5% from more than 274,000 in 1998 to more than 284,000 in 2016 but mortality rates fell from .07% to .05% (above)

A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that hospitalizations for alcohol use disorder increased by 3.5% from more than 274,000 in 1998 to more than 284,000 in 2016 but mortality rates fell from .07% to .05% (above)

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a brain disorder in which people are unable to stop or control their alcohol use despite negative consequences in their personal or professional lives. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is estimated that 15 million American adults suffer from AUD. 

Treatments for the disorder include behavioral therapies, medications and mutual-support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.  

For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team analyzed medical insurance claims from the US National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database between 1998 and 2016. 

Researchers looked at diagnostic codes relating to AUD as the primary reason for hospitalization. 

Codes signifying drug or alcohol counseling and rehabilitation, or detoxification, were excluded from the analysis. 

Over the course of the study period, there were more than 5.5 million patients hospitalized for AUD, with an average age of 48 years old.

Results showed a 3.5 percent increase in hospitalizations for the disorder from 274,652 in 1998 to 284,275 in 2016.

The number of claims first decreased from about 800 claims per 100,000 total claims in 1998 to 700 in 2005 before rising back to similar levels by 2015.

But even as hospitalizations for the disorder increased, mortality rates decreased.  

Researchers found a 25 percent and a 28 percent drop in the number of AUD hospitalization deaths and mortality rate per 100,000 total NIS claims, respectively.  

In-hospital mortality fell from 7,305 deaths per 100,000 claims in 1998 to 5,475 deaths per 100,000 claims in 2016.

That also represents a mortality rate decline from .07 percent to .05 percent. 

The team says there are limitations and that the percentages could be much higher if military and Veterans Affairs data is included, due to the high number of veterans who binge-drink.

‘Although AUD hospitalizations increased minimally, the overall health care impact of AUD is substantial, the authors wrote.

‘A better understanding of what causes these time trends could help further improve AUD hospitalization outcomes and reduce mortality.’

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